Jesus Walks on Water: Summary of the New Testament Bible Story

Jesus Walks on Water
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The New Testament Bible story of Jesus walking on water is one of the most widely told narratives and key miracles of Jesus. The episode occurs shortly after another miracle, the feeding of the 5,000. This event convinced the 12 disciples that Jesus is indeed the living Son of God. The story, therefore, is extremely significant to Christians and the basis for several important life lessons that govern how believers practice their faith.


The story occurs in Matthew 14:22-33 and is also told in Mark 6:45-52 and John 6:16-21. In Mark and John, however, the reference to the Apostle Peter walking on water is not included.

Story Summary

After feeding the 5,000, Jesus sent his disciples on ahead of him in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. Several hours later in the night, the disciples encountered a storm that frightened them. Then they witnessed Jesus walking toward them across the surface of the water, and their fear turned to terror because they believed they were seeing a ghost.  As recounted in Matthew verse 27, Jesus told them, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

Peter replied, "Lord, if it's you, tell me to come to you on the water," and Jesus invited Peter to do exactly that. Peter jumped out of the boat and began walking on the water toward Jesus, but the moment he took his eyes off of Jesus, Peter saw nothing but the wind and waves, and he started to sink.

Peter cried out to the Lord, and Jesus immediately reached out his hand to catch him. As Jesus and Peter climbed into the boat together, the storm ceased. After witnessing this miracle, the disciples worshiped Jesus, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

Lessons From the Story

Christians can find lessons for life from this story that go beyond faith: 

  • Making room for God: Jesus sent the disciples away so that he could go alone to the mountainside and pray. Even with his busy schedule, Jesus made spending time with God a top priority. The story reminds Christians of the importance of setting aside room for God. 

  • Recognizing the Lord: Even though the disciples had been with Jesus for a long time, they didn't recognize him as he approached them in the storm. The story reminds Christians that they may not recognize the Lord when he comes to them in the middle of their own personal storms.

  • Keeping the focus on Jesus: Peter did not begin to sink until he started looking around at the wind and the waves. For Christians, the lesson is that when they take their eyes off of Jesus and focus on their difficult circumstances, they begin to sink under the weight of their problems. But if believers cry out to Jesus in faith, he will catch them by the hand and raise them above seemingly impossible surroundings.
  • Restoring faith after a lapse: When he left the boat, Peter started out with good intentions, but his faith faltered. Nevertheless, Peter's leap of faith did not end in failure. Even in his fear, he cried out to the Lord, knowing that Jesus was the only one who could help him. Peter's experience reminds Christians that a lapse of faith is merely a lapse and that the Lord is still there for believers when they call for him. 
  • Weathering the storm with Jesus: When Jesus climbed into the boat, the storm ceased. Christians take away the lesson that when they have Jesus in their boat, the stormy waters of life will be calm. 


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Your Citation
Fairchild, Mary. "Jesus Walks on Water: Summary of the New Testament Bible Story." ThoughtCo, Feb. 3, 2018, Fairchild, Mary. (2018, February 3). Jesus Walks on Water: Summary of the New Testament Bible Story. Retrieved from Fairchild, Mary. "Jesus Walks on Water: Summary of the New Testament Bible Story." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 17, 2018).